Doc Opp's Reviews > Shadow Raiders

Shadow Raiders by Margaret Weis
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May 15, 12


I had mixed feelings about this book. The book has a number of strengths, but also some glaring weaknesses. As is typical for a world created by Weis, this is a rich, imaginative setting. The plot is constructed such that when the elements all come together the book is exciting and hard to put down. The problem is that those moments are few and far between, and the exposition is rather dully presented.

The main characters would enter a cathedral, and the reader would be treated to a several page historical discussion of the nature of that cathedral. Why it had been built, who had lived there for the past 100 years, etc. It would read like an informational tourist brochure rather than a novel. Then the characters would view a tapestry in the cathedral, and we'd get this history of the tapestry. While this did have the intended effect of giving the reader insight into the culture and history of the setting, it was done in a tedious way. If I want to read dry history, I can read history of things that actually happened.

The other major weakness is that some of the characters are excessively annoying. In particular, the two main female characters have the joint distinction of being useless and causing a lot of trouble for the rest of the protagonist team. A typical battle goes something like this: bad guys arrive, the two women refuse to go to safety, even though they don't know how to fight and can't meaningfully contribute. They then get hurt, (causing one of the actual fighters to have to abandon his post to help them), or get in the way (causing the fighters to be unable to attack the bad guys) or scream (revealing their position) or otherwise do something that is going to negatively affect the battle. And this happens in every single fight in the book. Even when not in a fight they have a tendency to get lost and need rescue, or otherwise derail the quest. (For those of you wondering, there is a strong female character as well, but she is only in the first few chapters and then isn't part of the rest of the book, although I expect to see her in future books in the series). There were times I was tempted to throw the book across the room in frustration.

On the whole, if you can get to page 300 things really pick up there, and if you can get to 400 when the exposition is (finally) over and the action really beings it actually is a fun read. But there were too many problems with this book to give it more than 3 stars.
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Nicci B It's weird because I had the exact opposite reaction to this as you did. I liked it because there was a lack of minute detail, I thought the descriptions were sparse, yet effective.

And I never got the impression of Miri and Gythe being useless either. Miri especially piloted a dangerous rescue. I'm usually on the look out for useless female characters, but I certainly never found it in this book. You could say that the two male protagonists are equally useless with their constant predilection of walking into traps!


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